Albert Pyun dropped some great flicks on the laps of me and my fellow trash fiends including one of my favourite fantasy films The Sword and the Sorcerer. During the late 80s and early 90s he was at his peak with flicks like Cyborg, Bloodmatch and the completely underrated Kickboxer 2 (gimme this one over the original any day). This period of his career saw him team up with Charles Band and everyone’s favourite zero budget production company Full Moon to give us Dollman.
Full Moon are notorious for their low budget “so bad it’s good” (and in some cases just unbelievably fucking shit) flicks and along with Troma they are the kings of this particular style of filmmaking… if you could call it that. There definitely are a lot of Full Moon’s flicks that basically smear shit across your screen and leave you feeling brain damaged but in some cases they get it right. Demonic Toys is one of the cases where Charles Band and company actually managed to pull together a pretty cool flick.
Mark of the Beast is an odd, somewhat awkward movie.
It takes place in an unidentified area of (presumably) America where civilisation ends at the border of a great Forest populated by strange wild people who worship an odd monkey god. Two friends, Debbie (Debbie Rochon) and Strickland (Dick Boland) try to escort their very drunk, somewhat unpleasant companion Fleete (Phil Hall) back to his house through this Forest. Fleete drunkenly defaces an altar to the monkey god and is attacked by a silver leper who places a terrible curse on him. Debbie and Strickland are forced to take extreme action to try and save him.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 was a cult hit during the late 80s and it enjoyed a successful run for over a decade clocking in an impressive 198 episodes on Comedy Central and the Sci Fi Channel as well as a feature film. The shows premise concerned itself with a man trapped on a satellite in space who is forced to watch “bad” B-Movies with his two robot companions. The trio are shown as silhouettes at the bottom of the screen and give a running commentary that takes the piss out of some of the more atrocious flicks to be committed to celluloid. Beyond Entertainment’s 4 disc 20th anniversary set brings us four episodes of the show First Spaceship On Venus, Laserblast, Werewolf, Future War and includes a documentary chronicling the history MST3K and it’s impact on popular culture.
The set opens with First Spaceship on Venus which was excruciatingly boring and the crew’s jokes weren’t much better. I was seriously wondering what I’d got myself in for signing on to review this set. I think they could’ve stopped their search for the worst movie ever right here. An awful start to the set which thankfully got better.
Next up in the set we have Laserblast a 1980 Charles Band produced (the very mention of his name will tell you how huge the budget was on this one) sci-fi film about a teenager called Billy (Kim Milford) who stumbles upon an alien weapon in the desert. The weapon’s radiation mutates the teen turning him into a violent maniac intent on taking revenge of those who have made his life difficult. The aliens who left the weapon behind are soon on the trail of Billy and his new toy. The MST3K crew’s humor improved on this disc and there’s some funny calls especially at the expense of the “Cracker Stoners” that make up the flick’s cast. Laserblast featured some pretty cool stop motion work (his debut I believe) from David Allen a protégé of Ray Harryhausen who went onto work on the effects in The Gate and Freaked. Mr geeky himself Eddie Deezen makes an appearance a long with Roddy McDowall and Dennis Burkley.
I dug this one a lot as I’m a big fan of Charles Band/Full Moon’s early features. They’re great mindless entertainment and despite their shortcomings a bunch of these films are really overlooked gems of 80s sci-fi and miles ahead of their shoddy horror output of 90s. Who hasn’t want to deal to the people who’ve pissed you off with a kickass laser cannon?! Great hilariously bad fun that was my favorite film of the set.
The werewolf subgenre has brought us some masterpieces of horror cinema notably The Wolfman, American Werewolf In London, Ginger Snaps and Silver Bullet. Werewolf however sits in the gutter with cinematic turds like Howling III and American Werewolf In Paris. An archaeological dig uncovers a werewolf skeleton which scratches one of the crew and he makes the change from man into wolf. The werewolf eventually returns to the archeologist’s camp but is killed by silver bullets. The foreman of the group Yuri (Jorge Rivero) uses the werewolf skeleton to hatch a evil plan of revenge on the group after he is fired for his heavy handed advances on Natalie (Adrianna Miles). The nonsensical plotline poor editing (wait for the car crash scene that will have you shaking your head) and average effects work really make this a stinker that the crew’s commentary shows no mercy to. Richard Lynch is always good value which was one of the films saving graces for me and the appearance of Joe Estevez (Charlie & Emilo’s uncle) was amusing especially when the crew really let him have it for being a washed up never will be “Can I still be in the movie?, Got a spare part anywhere?”.
Future War rounds off the set and is an epic of bad sets, fake looking robots, dinosaurs and showcases the exceptional acting prowess of kickboxer Daniel Bernhardt. I’ve become quite the fan of these sort of films over the last year or so and found it a pretty enjoyable Terminator knockoff. There’s some epic mullets on parade in this one and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many empty cardboard boxes used as props in my life. The fight scene involving Bernhardt throwing them at villains with sounds of broken glass as they strike is pure gold.
The set could’ve done with versions of the film without the MST3K crew’s take on them because they are just as enjoyable minus their presence if not more so when the jokes fall painfully flat. However there’s a good mix of episodes ranging from old school sci-fi to later era trashfests which shows the wide variety of films that the crew of the Satellite of Love ridiculed during their existence.
The humor in the set may not be to everyone’s taste but MST3K is an interesting enough distraction and is a great introduction for those uninitiated with the series or B-Movies in general not to mention trip down memory land for those who remember the series from it’s first run on television.
- 20 Year History of MST3K (in 3 parts)
- 2008 Comic-Con International Reunion Panel
- Original Trailers
Mystery Science Theatre 3000 – 20th Anniversary Ed is available on DVD from Beyond Home Entertainment.
I’ve found the Horror/Comedy subgenre quite lacking over the past few years as most of the output has been cookie cutter Army of Darkness and Shaun of the Dead clones. In all honesty I wasn’t expecting much from Isle of the Damned, but another tired retread in the similar vein thankfully that wasn’t the case.
Isle of the Damned is a breath of fresh air to the subgenre and easily the best film of its type since Bad Taste and Body Melt. Mark Leake’s script is a well-crafted homage to the notorious Italian cannibal flicks of the early ‘80s that is a hilarious ride filled with twisted humour, splatter and un-PC imagery.
Keiko (Rina Takeda) is the daughter of a legendary sushi chef, but his disdain for women and her general ineptitude mean she cannot live up to his standards. Sick of his vicious and gruelling karate-style sushi training, she runs away and finds a job at a rural hot springs hotel renowned throughout Japan for its sushi. Unfortunately, she is an even worse maid than she was a sushi maker, and is relentlessly tormented by the other staff and the corporate employees who stay there for their company retreat. However, everything is turned upside down when a disgruntled former researcher for the company turns up with a serum he’s developed that resurrects dead flesh (in this case the sushi) as ravening monstrosities.
With jaded modern audiences, in can become increasingly difficult for horror filmmakers to engage their audience with any kind of tension or scares. Some resort to extreme shock tactics, but there is also the ‘found footage’ subgenre, where the camera itself is part of the story in an attempt to fully immerse the viewer into the story. The Uruguayan film The Silent House uses a variant of this approach – keeping the documentary style, but shooting in real time. Continue reading
Another great no budget effort from Dustin Wade Mills, the man behind Night Of The Tentacles, this film makes the most of its limitations, providing a fast paced, well acted (well okay, that could be pushing it), good time for fans of low budget splatter.
In New York City a new drug has hit the streets, a strain of Bath Salts disguised as cigarettes that is highly addictive, has vicious side effects and that once tried you can’t kick. Our “hero” Ritchie (played by the malleable and rubber faced Brandon Salkil) takes one hit and turns into a homicidal, face ripping, psychopathic Jim Carrey! And that’s just the start of the film.
From then on it’s a one way ride to hell as Ritchie pursues more of the drug from his dealer Bubbles and his chemist comrade Sal (played by Mills), while maverick cop Forster pursues him. Well, him and any other drug dealin’ scum he can find. Forster takes out a whole gang, The Dragons, by himself because he’s too impatient to go through the proper procedures and when he hears about a punk rock massacre (Ritchie and two buddies go on a chowdown during a WWIX show – intestines pulled out, hearts chomped, heads ripped off – all in glorious no budget grue) he’s got a new target. Turns out that some military grade chemicals went missing, chemicals so vicious that the military decided not to use them, the same chemicals that have now turned up in the new batch of bath salts that Bubbles is flogging on the streets.
It gets mighty messy from here on in. Ritchie completes his Jim Carrey impersonation with a mad ass, crackhead Mask job, a puppet dog rips Sal a new one, tits get ripped off, dicks get bit off, a SWAT team meets their maker in a stylized “shit I don’t have the money for a real shoot out” music clip and Forster has to save the day.
Mills knows what he can and cannot do on his budget and he’s made one hell of a film on the smell of an idea. He’s got the best out of his actors, kept the pace cracking while still managing to give us some back story, thrown in a hell of a soundtrack (Meatmen, WWIX, Murder Junkies, BugGirl, Dwarves, Antiseen…), kept the film short and sharp and most of all, kept it entertaining.
I’ve seen some negative reviews of this film and to be honest I don’t get it. This is exactly what it promised to be – a low budget film that gives you naked sheilas, face ripping killers, cheap thrills, loud music and a fuckin’ fun time along the way. Imagine what the bastard could do with real money!!
NOTE: The back of the DVD case states the run-time is 90 minutes but it only runs for 64 minutes.
Commentary and trailers.
With its namesake and a tag-line of “There Will Be Bud” you would expect Bong of the Dead to be a humourous B-grade film combining the campy appeal of weed exploitation and zombie horror films. Don’t hold your toke though- Bong of the Dead is about as potent as a bong-hit of cabbage. Frankly, it plain sucks, failing to even attain so-bad-it’s-good status as one would hope would be this film’s saving grace.
The film follows main characters, Edwin and Tommy, two stoner buddies who discover they can cultivate a particularly potent strand of weed by using fertilizer made from zombies, of which their has been a recent outbreak. Along their journey to find more zombies they encounter Leah, a lone female survivor who is battle-ready and has little time for the two stoners antics at first. A hedonistic night of hard drinking and smoking quickly changes her mind however and she joins them. Together they use an SUV modified with a row of lawnmowers for a bull-bar to rectify the zombie problem- with results you could imagine.
Reportedly made for a ridiculously low sum of money, it’s obvious this film would hardly be vying to be taken seriously. The acting is terrible and although this would be forgivable or even expected in a film like this, the dialogue does nothing to help the cause, with no classic B-grade irony to counterbalance the crudeness. Without substance at all to the film (pardon the pun) it grows tiresome very quickly. Jokes about gingers and crude fart jokes is the furtherest extent of the humour making it hard to believe that even the dumbest of frat boys would raise a small chuckle to this film. If it wasn’t for the need to write a review for it I would’ve stopped watching it ten minutes in. The only redeeming feature of this film is the gore, however there are plenty of good gore films out there with much better acting and dialogue, so this nullifies any need to see this film.
So if you’re looking for a great film full of zombie gore and hazy weed smoke…don’t watch this film. Instead watch Brain Dead aka Dead Alive and a Cheech and Chong film back-to-back and let your mind do the rest of the work. It would be time much better spent than watching this steaming (or should I say smoking?) pile of crap.
Available on DVD from MVD Visual.
Chris Seaver is a true renaissance man, with a list of movies including Terror at Blood Fart Lake, Deathbone: Third Blood Part 7, The Blood of Deathbone, Teenape Goes To Camp and Close Encounters Of The Inbred Redneck Kind he has set a new standard in straight to DVD, no budget badness. And let me tell you, it’s a standard many others wish they could reach.
His 2010 film Evil Dead Inbred Rednecks is 45 minutes of shit jokes, toilet humour, political incorrectness and fun – dumb fun but fun none the less
A group of teens (a Ramones clone, slutty babe, camp boyfriend, angry film nerd, photographer chick and a bloke dressed as a chick!) head out to a cabin in the woods on Halloween to watch porn and horror movies and get wasted and fuck only to end up reading a book of black magic that revives Leo Dechamp, leader of a 70s redneck hillbilly cult! One by one our teens are taken over by the spirits of cliché hillbillies proving they can overact in more than one role while Leo himself comes across like a smart Mick Foley (I know, that ain’t hard to do). Luckily Ramones boy and angry film nerd escape with the book of magic and set out to find the wizard Jock De Queaf who can save them all. When they find him, accompanied by topless nutter babe Lumpy, you ain’t sure if Jock is a wise mage or a fucking nutter but he’s entertaining none the less.
There’s a nice little tribute to HG Lewis too before our intrepid heroes revive the corpse of Michael Jackson to take on Leo and his minions cos after all as everyone knows the one weakness hillbillies have is black people giving them knowledge! Yes, it’s that kind of film!
At 45 minutes this flick doesn’t overstay its welcome (assuming you welcome no budget badness) and is so full of toilet humour, dumb lines and deliberate stupidity that you can’t help but laugh. Well, I couldn’t anyway. Purposely over acted, with a horror host named Grizzelda, lots of in-jokes, sexual banter and piss-takes as well as tributes to other b-grade flicks of the past, you couldn’t wish for anymore could you?
But wait there is more! This is a double feature with the bonus 50 minute 2009 film, I Spit Chew On Your Grave – another film of dumb lines, movie tributes and no budget stupidity featuring the Gash Nasties, three hot babes led by a warlock (who is a deliberate rip off of Bowie’s role in Labyrinth) who rape and rob rich white boys. The gals, Balls Deep, Love Jewce and Honey Lips hook up with Leo DeChamp (yes our redneck pal himself) after finding out he’s won the lottery and subject him to some ball stretching, fist fucking rape before stealing his lottery ticket and then indulging in a Benny Hill style chase scene. Leo is saved by a witch named Grizzelda(!) who trains him for vengeance (in a missing reel scene of course – this is no budget movie making after all) and Leo takes the Gash Nasties on in a hockey sockey kung fuey fight to the death.
Deliberately grainy, overacted and seriously NO budget this is a fucking funny film. There’s the warlock Gareth’s rape song, a cameo by Jock De Queaf, Leo’s friend Alan Dinning pretending he’s a black man, Grizzelda, the whole Labyrinth joke, more toilet humour, hot babes but unfortunately no real blood, guts or tits out… ah well you can’t have everything I guess.
This is not for everyone, hell I’m not sure it’s even for public consumption really but damn, I love this shit. Seaver and his crew have put the fun back into film making. Imagine what he could do if someone actually gave him some money?
The package is then completed with a shitload of trailers, from the hardcore Naked Nazi to Christmas Season Massacre, Inbred Redneck Vampires, the sword and sandal extravaganza Hardbone to a couple that even look good – Clay and the forthcoming Ms Cannibal Holocaust. I recommend beer, lots of it.
Available on DVD from MVD Visual.